Luxembourg has been elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for the 2022-24 term.
On Thursday 14 October 2021, Luxembourg was elected by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York for a mandate on the Human Rights Council. This will be the Grand Duchy’s first term on the UNHRC since the latter’s creation in 2006.
Luxembourg’s Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Jean Asselborn, travelled to New York on Wednesday and Thursday to take part in the election of eighteen new members of the Human Rights Council for the 2022-24 term. The UNHRC has a total of 47 members.
Three seats were available for the Western European and Other States Group (WEOG), the regional group to which Luxembourg belongs. The Grand Duchy was elected by 180 votes, with the remaining two WEOG seats going to Finland (also elected by 180 votes) and the United States of America (elected by 168 votes).
Following the election, Minister Jean Asselborn thanked the UN Member States for their confidence and support. He emphasised that Luxembourg is aware of the responsibility entrusted to it by the UNGA. “Our country will endeavour to make a useful contribution to the work of the Human Rights Council during the 2022-2024 mandate, particularly in our four priority areas: support for the rule of law, civic space and human rights defenders and the fight against impunity, sustainable development and climate action based on human rights, gender equality and the fight against discrimination, and the protection and promotion of children's rights”, noted the Foreign Minister. “Luxembourg is committed to protecting and promoting the rights of all human beings, in a spirit of partnership and cooperation with other member states and United Nations human rights mechanisms. We will also work to ensure that the voice of our partners in civil society is heard, which is essential for the proper functioning of the Human Rights Council”.
Amnesty International Luxembourg welcomed the news of the country’s election, stating that this was an “opportunity to advance human rights around the world”. The non-profit added that it would “pay particular attention to ensuring that the government fully assumes this responsibility”.
Amnesty International particularly welcomed the government's intention to support the active participation of civil society and human rights defenders in the work of the Human Rights Council. "As the government recognised when it applied, the voice of civil society is essential for the proper functioning of the Human Rights Council", reiterated Olivier Pirot, Director of Amnesty International Luxembourg. "We therefore intend to fully seize this opportunity to ask the government to support Amnesty International's demands and bring them to the United Nations Human Rights Council”.
The non-profit also welcomed the government's attention to the rule of law, civic space and human rights defenders. "We […] expect from the Luxembourg government an unwavering commitment to support and protect human rights defenders, here in Luxembourg and across the world", said Olivier Pirot.
Amnesty International added that it expects the Luxembourg government to “take concrete actions and take strong positions” within the Human Rights Council over the next three years, without forgetting “the challenges facing the promotion of human rights at the national level”.
The non-profit expressed concern over the lack of mention of the responsibility of companies in Luxembourg's commitments to the Human Rights Council. The non-profit stressed that companies must be “held accountable for their participation in human rights violations and provide reparations to their victims”.